New York Magazine Article – November
The East Village is a hot neighborhood, true, but one still doesn’t
expect to see lines forming around a local church at 11 0’clock
on a weekend morning. Yet there they were on a recent Saturday,
lines stretching from St. Nicholas’s Orthodox church on 10th
Street at Avenue A, across 10th Street to the north corner, and
a few doors west. Not lines of people, but lines being painted by
people gathered by Marjorie Kouns, whose métier is outlining
shadows cast by buildings.
Capturing the shadows cast by St. Nicholas--a project Kouns calls
“Tri-Cross Timeline” after the three crosses atop the
Romanesque building--was the 28-year-old artist’s sixth such
project in Manhattan. And judging by the number of passersby who
painted the Pepto-Bismol-pink lines, it was her most successful.
“The point is, the shadows move, and I’m freezing the
moment,” says Kouns, who makes her living staging art ‘events.’
“A time-lapse camera takes pictures as the shadow shifts.
My approach is similar to Christo’s, I guess: What I do isn’t
really a tangible art form, but the documentation is.”
Friends were rolling paint over chalk lines Kouns had prepared earlier
in the week. Two little black kids on skateboards joined the line-painters,
as did an old woman who wore a babushka, an older man with a full
beard and a ponytail, and a Puerto Rican man who painted while holding
a bottle of Bud. Those who did not join in included several irate
people attending a christening at the church and a couple of policemen
who had to be mollified by Kouns’ well-documented (church,
community board, 9th Precinct, Department of Transportation, Department
of Sanitation) authorization.
At 12:05pm, the painting was finished, and the crew signed their
names along the Tri-Cross Timeline.
“The heavily traveled part [in the street] will last about
a month,” Kouns said, “and the rest could last six months,
depending on the political situation,” referring to a red-faced
churchman. “I mean, how can anyone get upset over a few pretty
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